Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were on hand this evening to celebrate the re-birth of Leavesden Studios.

The stars appeared at London’s Claridges Hotel, where some of the biggest names in the British film industry were celebrating a decision by Warner Bros. to buy the site and begin a development programme worth in excess of £100million.

The young stars, who have spent the last ten years filming at the dilapidated former aerodrome site, were joined at the exclusive Mayfair venue by some of the biggest names in British show-business, including Jason Isaacs, Stephen Poliakoff and Nick Moran.

Barry Meyer, chairman of Warner Brothers, said the studio would become one of the most important in world cinema, creating hundreds of jobs and boosting the local economy for generations to come.

Mr Meyer told the Watford Observer: “We are going to have one of the largest, most technologically advanced film production studios in all of Europe. We’ve been around for 85 years so we are not in this for the short term. Any ideas of that should be dispelled by the fact that we’ve just invested a substantial amount of money in buying the studio.”

Mr Meyer also sought to allay fears that a planned visitor attraction – catering for up to 6,000 visitors a day – would ever grow into a theme park or major tourist attraction.

He added: “It is going to be a large attraction where people can see where all the Harry Potter films were produced. There won’t be any other place in the world where you can see actual sets and see actual place of filming, but it is not going to be theme park – it is going to be an exhibit.”

Daniel Radcliffe shared fond memories of his time on set. He said: “The three of us have spent the last ten years of our lives at Leavesden Studios. To suddenly see it as the centre of all this attention is amazing.

“It is an amazing resource in this country for tens of thousands of incredibly talented writers and producers, filmmakers and actors. Warner Brothers has done a huge amount to release that talent into the world.”

Emma Watson added that she had had “The time of my life making films at Leavesden Studios.”

Jason Isaacs, who plays the villainous Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, joked about the site’s ramshackle current condition but said it was clearly a “very lucky” place to make films.

He said: “It’s got a real history, not just as a film studio but as an aircraft factory during second World War. It’s got holes in the roof where the Luftwaffe strafed it. “But is has made successful films at a time when it has been very hard to make successful films. The film industry is very superstitious and there is clearly some kind of well full of good luck under the ground there and they are very smart to continue making films in the same place. I would love to work there again because I am sure they will make it even better.”

Development work at the site is due to be completed in the summer of 2012. For more details please see Friday’s Watford Observer.